Blackadder praises Carter, Dagg
The return of Dan Carter and a masterstroke in releasing Israel Dagg off the bench in the second half were just two of the things that pleased Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder as he watched his team end the Brumbies' unbeaten home record with a deserved 30-23 victory at Canberra Stadium on Sunday.
"There's a very happy player [Dagg], a very happy coach and a very happy team," Blackadder said afterwards.
"It was just what he needed. I don't think I was sitting down anytime he got the ball. He is a quality player and it just goes to show you that when he gets out there and doesn't have time to think, what he can really do. I was pleased about that and he will gain a lot of confidence from that.
"Dan [Carter] played really well tonight in his first start for a long time. It just shows what a class player he is.
As a team the guys did their analysis really well and we knew that defensively we needed to be collectively sound. I thought our defensive structures really stood the test tonight and they were really tested. I'm pleased we managed to get that part of the game right."
While three tries, a seven-point win and an away victory over one of the form teams in the competition was a great return for the New Zealanders, there was still a hint they had yet to reach the high standards successful teams sets for themselves, something which Blackadder was keen to stress.
"It's really satisfying that the team went out there and played really well and got a result," he said.
"Last week we got a result but we weren't satisfied. But we were happy with tonight even though not everything was perfect. The set piece was under quite a bit of pressure and we knew that the game would come down to one or two moments."
The victory sets the Crusaders up nicely for the run-in but Blackadder is too experienced to get carried away just yet, knowing Super Rugby has many pitfalls and hurdles along the path to glory.
"We know that this is a tough place to play. The players and coaches just focused on the job at hand and even though it was going to be tough there would be no excuses and we knew we needed to perform tonight and they did that," he said.
"Most teams in this competition are genuine contenders. It was only a couple of weeks ago that we were beaten by the Force so we know that every team can beat everyone and this weekend in particular just shows you. But you can't really read anything into the results at the moment, it's still too early."